Near Southeast DC: Past News Items - April 2007
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WMATA Speeding Up Bus Garage Move
Apr 30, 2007 9:47 PM

One of the more central sites in the Ballpark District is the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, on the southwest corner of Half and M. But Metro knows that it's time to move (although Monument Realty, which owns almost every other parcel on the block, has no doubt been tapping its toes and saying "Here's your hat, what's your hurry?"). Back in January, the WMATA board approved an effort to start finding a replacement location, with the preferred spot being DC Village, east of the Anacostia. At its April 26 board meeting, the board appears to have sped up its timetable considerably. Quoting from the documentation: "[T]he urgency for a timely replacement has increased and the strategy for replacement has evolved. The goal is to relocate the existing 114 Metrobuses to a Phase 1 facility by late March 2008 in order to avoid the impact of ballpark events upon bus access at the existing Garage. Thus, over the next twelve months, with Board approvals, staff intends to design, advertise, award and construct the Phase 1 facility for 114-bus capacity and to design and advertise the Phase 2 bus facility of 250-bus capacity." At the next board meeting, in late May, WMATA staff is expected to have the environmental assessment, general plans and financial plan and will request approval of a public hearing, the advertisement of the Phase 1 construction contract; and the agreement with the city to take control of the DC Village property. (Speedy!)

As for what will happen on the garage site, Monument has not announced any specific plans, and the site does have what has gently been referred to as "historic preservation issues" (and certainly a good portion of the building ought to be saved), so it could be a while before anything new arises on that spot. But I cannot lie, I will very much be looking forward to no more dodging of the buses that roam in that section of Near Southeast while I take pictures....

Early Heads Up - First Outbound Douglass Bridge Closures This Weekend
Apr 30, 2007 8:12 PM
From DDOT: "Improvements to the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge (sometimes referred to as the South Capitol Street Bridge) will continue this weekend, as crews begin repairs on the southbound or outbound lanes. Previous recent weekend closures affected inbound lanes only. (View a map of weekend detours) Following the evening rush hour on Friday, May 4 at 10 pm, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will temporarily close the southbound (outbound) lanes on the Douglass Bridge. All lanes will be reopened in time for the Monday (May 7) evening rush hour. Outbound bridge drivers will be directed to follow signed detours to I-395 South across the 11th Street Bridge to I-295 South. Drivers also may consider taking either New York Avenue or Benning Road as alternate routes. Following this weekend's closures, the outbound lanes on the Douglass Bridge again are scheduled to close on the weekends of May 19 and June 2. Closure of the bridge's outbound lanes follows six previous weekends of closing the bridge's northbound or inbound lanes. The off-peak weekend closures and repairs are needed to prepare for a major rehabilitation that will take place on the Frederick Douglass Bridge in July and August--at which time all lanes on the bridge will be closed in both directions."

Photos. Lots and Lots and Lots of Photos.
Apr 30, 2007 5:32 PM

In addition to the new photos I posted yesterday in the Stadium Construction Gallery, I also now have for your perusal and enjoyment updated photos of the demolitions at 909 New Jersey (Nexus), Square 699N (Edge/Wet), and 1015 Half (Nation, work which is still just in its early stages). And, there's also new photos from another fun location. Plus, I've added a lot of additional shots to in the Photo Archive, so check the North oif M and the ballpark area intersections for more shots if you can't get enough--you can also look at a single page with my all photos from yesterday, and then click on the name of the intersection if you want to see the comparison shots.

Last but not least, I attended the ceremony today where JBG (developers of the DOT HQ) donated $4 million to the city to help fund the creation of both Canal Park and Diamond Teague Park, and I posted on those pages a shot or two from the festivities. UPDATE: Here's the Examiner's story on the donations and the plans for the two parks.
And now, I'd like to go back on vacation....

New Stadium Exterior Shots - Other Photos to Come
Apr 29, 2007 4:20 PM
What a beautiful day, FINALLY, for picture-taking. So first up is a complete update of the exteriors in the Nationals Ballpark Construction Gallery. I'll post before long all sorts of new shots I took today from all the demolition going on North of M, and some other shots as well, but hopefully these will appease you until I can get those others posted.
More posts: Nationals Park

Nation and Sunoco Sites to Change Hands?
Apr 27, 2007 10:36 AM
From today's print edition of the Washington Business Journal (subscribers only for now), word arrives of two big Near Southeast real estate transactions: Opus East, developer of 100 M Street, is on track to purchase the 1015 Half Street/Nation site from Potomac Investment Properties (the story says Republic Investment, but I don't think that's correct). And Monument Realty is reportedly adding to its vast Hood holdings by buying the old Sunoco lot at 50 M Street. (I have heard rumors of these two items for weeks/months, but it turns out what I was hearing wasn't 100% accurate--score one for waiting for confirmation) The article says that Opus plans to retain the plans for a 440,000-sq-ft office building with retail on the Nation site, and are rumored to be paying $100 a square foot; Monument has not disclosed what it might do with the Sunoco site or what it's paying. The article also has some vague mention of some other transaction on the "corner of Half and K", but doesn't say which corner (the northeast and northwest ones are the two possibilities), or who's buying it. More on these transactions (such as actual prices) as I get it. (And yes, I'll have photos of the Nation demolition as soon as the sun comes out.)

More on the Police Coming to the Post Plant
Apr 26, 2007 8:00 PM
(I'm now back from a week's vacation, but thanks for being patient as I take a little time to catch up--remember, JDLand is The Site Where You Get What You Pay For.) Back in January, I posted about the planned move of the Metropolitan Police Department's 1st District Station (currently in Southwest) to the old Star/Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue (right next to the SE Freeway). Today the Washington Post is reporting that the plans have expanded considerably: "The District plans to move its top police officials from their longtime location in downtown Washington into an industrial building the city will renovate and lease in Southeast Washington. Plans call for D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier and about 200 senior staff members to make the move late next year or in early 2009. The new location, at 225 Virginia Ave. SE, will house numerous other police units, including the 1st Police District, the department's violent crimes branch, the narcotics division and the evidence warehouse. More than 1,100 police department employees will work there." But it's not a cheap or easy endeavor: "The DC Council approved the annual $6.5 million lease but has yet to sign off on as much as $100 million that may be needed to renovate the building, city officials said. The renovations include adding a sixth floor and a parking garage[.]" Mayor Fenty apparently supports the move, but, in a stunner, community activist Dorothy Brizill thinks it's a bad idea, saying that the new location is "more remote." NBC4 has a video on the possible move as well. We'll see what actually transpires....
UPDATE: I couldn't avoid it any longer--I've given 225 Virginia Ave. its own project page, and have added it to my main map.

Nation Demolition Underway
Apr 25, 2007 6:12 PM
Thanks to the eyes on the ground for the news that Nation is indeed now being demolished--I'm out of pocket for another day or so, but will have a full report on all the North of M demolition (including also Square 699N and the Nexus/909 New Jersey site) by the end of the weekend.

JBG Donating $4 Million to Two Parks
Apr 24, 2007 5:05 PM

From an Anacostia Waterfront Corporation press release (not yet posted on their web site): "JBG Companies will present $4 million to help fund neighborhood improvements in the Near Southeast neighborhood, including Washington Canal Park and Diamond Teague Park, at a ceremonial event scheduled for Monday, April 30, 2007 at 11:00 am. The ceremony will take place at the planned site for Washington Canal Park, located at the corner of 2nd and M Streets, SE. Participants in the check presentation ceremony will include District Mayor Adrian Fenty, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and AWC Interim President and CEO Neil O. Albert, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown, Chair of the Committee on Economic Development, and Ben Jacobs, President of JBG Companies, who will present a ceremonial check to District officials and AWC. JBG Companies, developer of the new U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters building on M Street, SE, is contributing $2.5 million toward development of Washington Canal Park and $1.5 million toward the development of Diamond Teague Park." And, this additional bit of info about Diamond Teague Park: "The park is being completed in a partnership arrangement with surrounding land owners for area-wide benefit and use. The park's first phase will incorporate interim improvements to include a ferry landing [emphasis mine] and esplanade. Future improvements will include connecting the Ballpark District to The Yards (formerly Southeast Federal Center) with the construction of the Anacostia Riverwalk adjacent to the river bank site currently occupied by the DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA)."

Construction Worker Injured at Stadium
Apr 24, 2007 5:01 PM

A small blurb from WJLA: "A construction worker who fell down while working on the top level of the new baseball stadium in Southeast will be OK after the D.C. fire department performed a high-angle rescue. Fire spokesman Alan Etter says the 23-year-old man injured his back when he fell over at about noon. A back injury requires that the person first be stabilized and then be brought down with a crane and a basket. Firefighters got up on an apparatus. Etter says the injury isn't life-threatening and the man will be fine."

More posts: Nationals Park

The Green Baseball Stadium
Apr 24, 2007 9:05 AM
From a few days ago... The Examiner has a piece on "Saving the Planet While Playing Games", centered on how the Nationals stadium is going to attempt to earn LEED certification, "which means it has to accumulate at least 26 points on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design scorecard compiled by the U.S. Green Building Council." Quoting: "During a recent tour of the Nationals' construction site, project manager Naeemi beamed about his five sand filters - huge underground bunkers that will purify water from the ballpark before it trickles into the troubled Anacostia. The ballpark also will have low-flow plumbing fixtures that will save an estimated 3.6 million gallons of water per year. The construction materials will have a minimum of 10 percent recycled content. An education program will encourage fans to recycle their trash. High-efficiency field lighting will use roughly 21 percent less energy than the lights at a typical ballpark. A subway station is about a block away, which means fewer people will drive to the games. There are plans to plant vegetation on a portion of the roof to keep it cooler. And it's all affordable. The green upgrades account for less than 1 percent of the $611 million ballpark budget."
More posts: Nationals Park

About that Power Plant....
Apr 22, 2007 1:38 PM
It's not technically in Near Southeast, but people often ask about the lovely power plant just north of the Southeast Freeway and east of South Capitol Street (you can see its smokestacks in these pictures, or in the shots I took on the last stadium tour looking toward the Capitol, at the bottom of this page). Today's Post has a piece about it, and how in that lovely Congressional way, it's clear that It Isn't Going Anywhere.
More posts:

DOT HQ Move-Ins Underway
Apr 20, 2007 8:54 AM
The first 300-plus employees (from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) have indeed begun moving in to the new US Department of Transportation headquarters on M Street. The moves are scheduled to take about nine weeks, with the east building filling up first over the next few weeks, the west building arrivals then scheduled to start in mid-May, and the nearly 5,000 staffers should almost all moved in by June 30 (DOT has to be out of the Nassif building in SW on July 1 or else the rent goes from $1 million a month to $4 million, I've been told). Be nice to the new arrivals, and welcome them to the neighborhood--I'd say we should all show up at the front door with bundt cakes, but given the realities of post-9/11 "security", we'd probably be shot on sight.

Signs Point to Stadium
Apr 19, 2007 12:01 PM
Today's District Extra in the Post has a feature on DDOT's Sign Fabrication Shop, pegged to how the group is working to plan and manufacture the many new signs that will be needed throughout the city to guide fans to the new Nationals ballpark. (And pick up a hard copy--there's a lot more photos that aren't displayed with the online version.) A highlight: "A sign-planning team has been set up that includes transportation department officials, policy and planning groups, engineers, outside consultants and the team's owners. The group estimates that 298 signs will be needed, mostly 12 feet by 15 feet, to guide motorists from the Interstate 495 Beltway and Baltimore-Washington Parkway to local roads leading to the stadium."
More posts: Nationals Park

Demolition Update
Apr 18, 2007 5:31 PM
Today's demolition news: Edge/Wet and Food and Friends on Square 699N are just about gone. The Nexus Gold Club has lost its rear wall and its innards have been mostly scooped out. And a new entrant has possibly appeared in the Demolition Derby--innard-scooping appears to be going on as well at Nation/1015 Half Street (which now has a "Wrecking Corporation of America" sign hung on its fencing). I took photos of some of these sites this morning (although this 967th overcast day in a row hampered the results): check the New Jersey and I, New Jersey and K, and 1st and L angles in the Photo Archive to see the before-and-after comparisons of those corners, or see all the shots from today in a single group. I also skipped ahead a few hours and added the three all-but-gone structures to the Demolished Buildings Gallery--there must be something about April, because we've had 17 buildings bulldozed in the last 18 days (will Nation be added to the list before the month is out?). UPDATE: Just clarifying, there's no heavy machinery or obvious demolition going on at Nation yet--but a medium-sized hole has been punched in one outer wall, some doors were opened, and it looked like the interior has been newly stripped down.
And while it doesn't really qualify as a demolition, I'll also pass along that the temporary WMATA employee lot on the Monument Half Street site has now been closed and is being dug out (they received their Certificate of Occupancy for the new lot one block over on South Capitol last week)--this means that the entire Monument site on the east side of Half has now been cleared--and no time is being wasted with excavation, as you can tell if you go peek at the massive hole already dug around the Half and M Navy Yard Metro entrance or watch the digging at the lower left of Stadium Construction Camera #2.

Weekend Closures and Cleanups
Apr 18, 2007 1:32 PM
A reminder that the inbound lanes of the Frederick Douglass Bridge will again be closed this weekend (from 10 am Friday, April 20 until before the Monday, April 23 morning rush hour). In May and June, the weekend closures will be shifted to the outbound lanes. And, of course, in July and August, the bridge will be shut down completely for Extreme Makeover: South Capitol Street, aka the demolition of the northern end of the bridge to allow for the bridge to arrive at ground level at Potomac Avenue.
Also, see my previous entry about various Earth Day-related activities around Near Southeast and the Anacostia River. Alas, my calendar has an unmoveable commitment for Saturday, otherwise I was all ready to make the Canal Park cleanup a JDLand meet-and-greet. But don't let that stop you from participating; and be sure to ask the organizers if you can help them move the school buses (heh heh).

Nexus Gold Club Demolition Underway; Square 699N Continues to Disappear
Apr 17, 2007 6:07 PM

The sudden whirlwind of demolition in Near Southeast continues, as today work started on bringing down the Nexus Gold Club, but not until after the bulldozing of its neighbor, the old Four Star Cab brick townhouse at New Jersey and K (whose own neighbors were demolished almost exactly a year ago). This block will be home to 909 New Jersey Avenue, JPI's 230-unit residential tower; it should be noted that the A1 Tires garage on the southwest corner of the block (at 1st and K) shows no sign of selling out to JPI, so it appears for now that 909's residents will have no problem getting car repairs. (Glass half full!)

In the meantime, across the way, demolition proceeds apace on Square 699N, as all buildings along 1st Street between K and L have now been brought down, including the festive gold, green, white, and cranberry garage on the corner of 1st and L. Only Food and Friends and Edge/Wet remain standing; if you have respects to pay to them or the Nexus, you'd better do it tonight or tomorrow morning.
All this means three new entries on my Demolished Buildings page, with space being saved for Nexus and the others. And as soon as Mother Nature remembers that it's April and not November, I'll post pictures of the new streetscapes.

Update on Evicted Stadium Landowners
Apr 16, 2007 10:34 AM
Friday's Washington Times has an update on some of the owners of the land taken via eminent domain in 2005 to make space for the new Nationals ballpark. Sixteen of them refused to take the city's offer and are still in court over what the payments should be--and it doesn't look like it's getting resolved anytime soon. The story tells how many of them have been unable to find new locations or are struggling with smaller lots than before.
More posts: Nationals Park

Gloomy Days, Gloomy Photos
Apr 15, 2007 12:40 PM
This weekend has not lent itself to photography, but my schedule is going to be tight for the next couple of weeks and I couldn't bear to go a month between ballpark updates. So you can check out the latest updates to the Stadium Construction Gallery--I didn't update the entire set, because some of the shots on the southeastern side of the ballpark aren't changing as much now, so why replace pretty blue-sky shots with dreary overcast facsimiles? But I did also add some new "stitched-together" before and afters, to show panoramic shots of various intersections around the site. I'm not sure whether these will become a permanent fixture (the fish-eye distortion on some is a little disconcerting), but given what I had to work with weather-wise, at least it's something a little different. I also added more pictures to the Square 699N page, as demolition continues there. You can also of course browse the Click to see all available photos of this location. Photo Archive to see additional photos of intersections and vantage points you're interested in, or you can look at all photos I've posted from yesterday and then click on the intersection/angle to see the complete archive for that view. And let's hope the sun returns eventually. And we've also got Demolished Buildings #127 and #128.

Articles on Capitol Quarter and Parking
Apr 13, 2007 11:04 PM
A few articles to note in the latest neighborhood newspapers--nothing really new in them (especially if you stop by here with regularity), but they might be good roundups for people who haven't been following along closely. The April Hill Rag has a profile of Capitol Quarter, the mixed-income townhome component of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. And the latest Voice of the Hill has "Stadium Parking Plan is 'Managed Chaos'", covering last month's stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan meeting and the reaction of local residents and leaders. My notes from that meeting are here, and my Stadium Parking page has the meeting's presentation slides from Gorove/Slade, DDOT, and WMATA.

All Sorts of Tiny Items
Apr 12, 2007 9:57 PM

A reconaissance mission through the Hood today yielded a lot of new tidbits; click on the links for project details and new photos added to the Archive:

* The "branding" of The Yards has begun, with huge signs now hung from the old Gun Assembly Building on M Street east of 4th;
* The new stoplights along M Street at New Jersey and at 4th are now flashing red, no doubt to be turned on Any Minute Now with the impending start of DOT HQ move-ins (next week?);
* Nation now has fences around it;
* Demolition on Square 699N has crept along K Street from its starting point at Half and K, and has now made it to the corner of 1st and K; this means that there are three new additions (124-126) to my Demolished Buildings gallery; and
* Gas has skyrockted in the last month (yes, the infamous Gas Prices tracking page is back!).
(UPDATED to fix a lot of stupidly broken links.)

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